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Across the world, hackers are targeting and exploiting security weaknesses and holding data hostage. You might recall that, in a heavily-reported incident, The Colonial Pipeline Company was hit by a ransomware cyberattack that caused the disruption of fuel supplies along the East Coast for several days in mid-2021. The company – and the FBI – paid hackers $4.4 million in Bitcoin to regain control of their system.

Colonial Pipeline was not the only corporation that paid hackers an exorbitant amount of money. The NBAKia Motors and JBS Foods have also been victimized by cyber-attacks where hackers demanded millions of dollars. CD Projekt RED, a Polish video game developer, was also a victim of a cyberattack, but since they had backups in place, they never had to pay the demanded ransom.

While these are all big organizations, that does not mean that small businesses are safe.

Keep in mind two key things:

  1. These stories made the news because the companies that were attacked paid millions of dollars to regain control of their data.
  2. News organizations are far more likely to report on big companies and companies with far-reaching services than they are small businesses.

When a small or mid-size business (SMB) gets attacked, they can’t pay millions of dollars to recover stolen information – and the hackers know that. Instead, these bad actors will usually go after customer and employee information as well as financial records, statements, and access to bank accounts. Sadly, when a hacker attacks an SMB, it often ends in the business closing their doors for good.

The year 2021 set a record for cyber-attacks, as did 2022, and the trend continues – 2023 is shaping out to be no different. If you’re a business owner, you need to wake up to the reality of cyberthreats and cyber security before it’s too late.

Here are a couple of the best cyber security practices you should put into place immediately.

Hire A Managed Services Provider (MSP) For Your IT Needs

Cyber security awareness has grown over the past five years, but there are still plenty of SMB owners who think there is no need for cyber security measures or that they’re too expensive. The simple truth is that every business can be a victim of cyberattacks. If you think it’s too expensive to have your own IT team watching over your cyber needs, please compare it to the cost of having all of your systems go down for a day, or two, or a week . Or the cost of having your bank accounts cleaned out.

In light of the risks -which are growing every day, hiring an MSP on guard duty is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to ensure that your network and information are protected.

MSPs can be incredibly beneficial to any business. They’re designed to recognize and fix weak points in the systems that run and connect to your business. MSPs work proactively to ensure that your business is fully protected in the cyberworld. They typically offer around-the-clock monitoring, data backup and recovery, firewall and network protection, real-time threat prevention and so much more. MSPs provide you with a dedicated team of IT professionals who are available to assist with any IT needs. If you have not looked into hiring an MSP for your business, I highly recommend you consider it.

If you’re interested in hiring an MSP or want more information about the benefits, reach out to us and we will assist with any concerns or questions you may have.

Create A Cyber-Secure Culture

Many cyberattacks stem from employee error or misunderstanding. Making sure that all of your employees are aware of the risks associated with cyber-attacks is your first – and arguably the most important – line of defense. When you first hire an employee, train them on cyber security. In addition to this, your current employees should go through a reminder course at least once a year.

It’s also critical to keep your your employees informed about the dangers of phishing e-mails and texts, downloading malware, social media scams, and password protection. If you have employees working remotely, you should ensure that their devices have security measures built into them. If your employees are informed about the risks, they will be more observant so they can spot any potential threats. Your entire team needs to buy into the cyber-secure culture if you want your training to be effective.

In today’s day and age, you can never be too careful when it comes to your cyber security. Be proactive and put into effect all of the security measures you possibly can. The year 2021 saw cyberattacks reach new heights, and it’s likely that these numbers will continue to rise even higher this year. Take preventive action and don’t let your business add to the cyber-attack statistics. If you’re unsure of where to begin when it comes to buffing up your cyber security practices, give us a call, and we will be glad to help.